O'Donnell Claims She Was Obama's Top Opponent

WASHINGTON (AP) - Former Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell of Delaware is claiming in a fundraising letter that she was the White House's top opponent in the 2010 election.

O'Donnell, who lost badly in her third consecutive Senate bid last year and is being investigated for potential spending violations during the campaign, is raising money for a new political action committee she formed recently to spread her message. In her letter, sent to supporters Tuesday, she said her tea party-backed campaign forced the White House to put resources into Delaware last year, including visits by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

"You are the reason that President Obama came to Delaware in late 2010, diverting his attention from other states he could have campaigned in," the letter says. "You are the reason that a frantic White House dispatched Vice President Joe Biden, again and again, to campaign in Delaware to defeat me, who they regarded as their number one opponent."

O'Donnell pulled off a stunning upset in the GOP primary, but her campaign was later plagued by revelations about her unconventional past, including a thin employment record, contested campaign finance spending, and previous statements about opposing masturbation and dabbling in witchcraft as a teenager.

She trailed badly in the polls throughout the general election, eventually losing by 17 points to Democrat Chris Coons.

With tight races across the country, neither party invested heavily in the Delaware contest, and Obama devoted much more time to states with competitive races such as Ohio and Pennsylvania. While Obama visited Delaware once, many suspected the stop was aimed more at trying to link O'Donnell's troubles to other Republicans than at protecting the longtime Democratic seat. Biden visited several times, but Delaware is his home state, and he held the Senate seat for more than three decades before becoming vice president.

A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

O'Donnell's letter also briefly mentions what it calls "the latest smear" against her, apparently referencing recent reports by The Associated Press and others that the Justice Department is investigating her campaign spending. Referring to her race as the "Battle of Delaware 2010," it says her new PAC will allow her to "counter attack left-wing groups," fight the "liberal media" and support conservative candidates against the "liberal-controlled GOP establishment" during the 2012 party primaries.

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